Immunisation medical exemptions

You may be able to get an exemption from having a vaccine if there is a valid medical reason.

To get some family assistance payments, your child must meet immunisation requirements.

What counts as a medical exemption

The only reasons you might be able to get an exemption from having a vaccine are if you:

  • had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of a vaccine
  • had anaphylaxis after a dose of any component of a vaccine
  • are significantly immunocompromised—for live vaccines only
  • have natural immunity—for hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox only.

What doesn’t count as a medical exemption

You won't be able to get an exemption if your reason for not having a vaccine isn't valid.

These aren’t valid reasons:

  • mild illness without fever—meaning your temperature is below 38.5ºC
  • any family history of adverse events following immunisation
  • history of convulsions
  • treatment with antibiotics
  • treatment with locally acting steroids, inhaled or low dose topical
  • replacement corticosteroids
  • asthma, eczema, atopy, hay fever or sniffles
  • previous infection with the same pathogen
  • prematurity, vaccination shouldn’t be postponed and can be given if the infant is medically stable
  • history of neonatal jaundice
  • low weight in an otherwise healthy child
  • neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy and Down syndrome
  • contact with an infectious disease
  • child’s mother is pregnant
  • child is being breastfed
  • woman is breastfeeding
  • recent or planned surgery.

Who can grant a medical exemption

Not every health professional can grant a medical exemption. Health professionals who can grant an exemption are:

  • general practice registrars on an approved 3GA training placement
  • paediatricians
  • public health physicians
  • infectious disease physicians
  • clinical immunologists
  • GPs who meet certain criteria.

GPs need to be 1 of the following:

  • vocationally registered
  • a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
  • a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

Your GP will know if they can grant you an exemption.

Other medical practitioners working in general practice can’t give exemptions. But they may give vaccines and provide other medical services.

To grant an exemption they must tell us by updating the AIR or completing a form.

Page last updated: 5 September 2019

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